Labor Day Remembered: 1934 'Bloody Friday' Mpls. Truckers' Strike
A historic event that helped shape the workplace today happened nearly 80 years ago in the Minneapolis Warehouse District.
Fifteen-thousand truckers walked off their jobs in 1934 and engaged in bloody confrontations with police and hired security from downtown businesses.
Two picketers were shot and killed by police and 65 other picketers were injured. This strike, part of the "Labor War of '34", played a significant role in the development of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.
University of Minnesota historian Hy Berman tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that Governor Floyd B. Olsen met secretly with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Rochester and negotiated a settlement to the violent four-month strike. Their negotiations were part of a larger, behind-the-scenes effort, in Washington, D.C. to craft the Labor Relations Act. That legislation officially and legally recognized unions and gave them the right to collectively bargain with businesses.
Berman says much of what workers enjoy in the workplace today was borne out of events like the Minneapolis Truckers' strike. He says a 40-hour work week, health benefits and paid vacations and holidays all result from collective bargaining agreements and Fair Labor Standards laws.
The two Minneapolis truckers who died in 1934 were John Belor and Henry Ness.